Busdriver-Thumbs (2015)

My Rating: 63% (C)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 63%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Hottentot Supercluster feat. Zeroh & Kaveh Rastegar
  2. Black Labor (as understood by Equiano)
  3. Hyperbolic 2
  4. MUCH
  5. Ministry of the Torture Couch feat. Hemlock Ernst
  6. Worlds to Run feat. milo & Anderson .Paak
  7. Skit
  8. Surrounded by Millionaires feat. Daveed Diggs
  9. Great Spooks of Enormous Strength
  10. Del’s Couch feat. Del the Funky Homosapien
  11. Shadows and Victories feat. Jeremiah Jae
  12. NY 03 LIVE feat. Caural
  13. Species of Property
  14. Two Feet in the Layered Cake feat. Kool A.D.
  15. Answering Machinist feat. Jeremiah Jae

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting to dig deep into The Good Life emcees.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I love this cover, it reminds me of some of the spirit characters on Miyazaki films.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nope.

Final Thoughts:

Busdriver is an impressive emcee, there’s no doubt about that, don’t believe/trust me? Listen to Me – Time and shut your face. The thing that separates Busdriver from other wordy rhymers, such as Aesop Rock and MF Doom, is his inability to make a solid album. He has a few tracks that are fun on each album, but he can’t make one that demands more than one listen. He’s a great artist that seems to be wandering a little aimlessly. This is the time where I think a concept album with a famous beat maker would really help Busdriver make an album of note. Let’s see a Danger Mouse and Busdriver collab, please!

Doomtree-All Hands (2015)

My Rating: 96% (A+)

Pitchfork Rating: 71%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 62%

Average Rating: 76%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Final Boss
  2. My Own Nation
  3. .38 Airweight
  4. Gray Duck
  5. Heavy Rescue
  6. 80 On 80
  7. Mini Brute
  8. Cabin Killer
  9. Beastface
  10. The Bends
  11. Generator
  12. Off In The Deep
  13. Marathon
  14. High Water

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Wanting a hip hop album with lots going on at once.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a beautiful looking cover, I’d be stoked to have it in my collection.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

I need to own more Hip-Hop on vinyl (yes I want it).

Final Thoughts:

Doomtree is a hip-hop super-group (at least in my eyes), Sims, P.O.S., and Dessa are all artists with amazing solo work, so to have them all in the same group making music is kind of a big deal for me. Granted I got into Doomtree before their solo careers but now that I’ve researched more I almost forgot that these guys all worked together. They take things in a different direction on All Hands, keeping the lyrics abstract and the percussion raw, they get much more electronic than I’m used to hearing them, which was a good move because they now can appeal to a larger audience. Old fans may be a little let down with the new sound but I’m on board and excited to hear these guys push themselves as a group and as individual artists.

Cage The Elephant-Tell Me I’m Pretty (2015)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: 70%

Metacritic Rating: 73%

Average Rating: 81%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Cry Baby
  2. Mess Around
  3. Sweetie Little Jean
  4. Too Late to Say Goodbye
  5. Cold Cold Cold
  6. Trouble
  7. How Are You True
  8. That’s Right
  9. Punchin’ Bag
  10. Portuguese Knife Fight

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Looking for a classic rock album mixed with a little bit of pop.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

I absolutely friggin’ love this album cover, I couldn’t stop looking at it when I first found it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hellz yeah.

Final Thoughts:

I’ve been with Cage The Elephant since the very beginning and it’s been one heck of a ride. I really loved their self titled album then I kinda lost interest in them for their follow up, which was really a noise rock album. But now they’ve become more radio friendly and I surprisingly like the outcome. It’s not original Cage, but it’s still really great music.

Moon Duo-Shadow of the Sun (2015)

My Rating: 90% (A)

Pitchfork Rating: 66%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 75%

Average Rating: 77%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Wilding
  2. Night Beat
  3. Free the Skull
  4. Zero
  5. In a Cloud
  6. Thieves
  7. Slow Down Low
  8. Ice
  9. Animal
  10. Cross the Way

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the hunt for some music that would be on a Nicolas Winding Refn film.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Trippy. I lovez it.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Yup!

Final Thoughts:

Moon Duo was a pleasant surprise for me. I never really know what I’m getting into when I allow someone on What’s In My Bag to tell me what to listen to, but this was a winner. Really fun/dark sounding music. It’d be a perfect album to walk downtown at night to. Very cinematic sounding at times, but just overall a really great album that’s worth your attention.

Dee Dee Bridgewater-Dee Dee’s Feathers (2015)

My Rating: 46% (D-)

Pitchfork Rating: N/A

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 46%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. One Fine Thing
  2. What A Wonderful World
  3. Big Chief
  4. Saint James Infirmary
  5. Dee Dee’s Feathers
  6. New Orleans
  7. Treme Song/Do Whatcha Wanna
  8. Come Sunday
  9. Congo Square
  10. C’est Ici Que Je T’aime
  11. Do You Know What It Means
  12. Whoopin’ Blues
  13. Rising Tide (Tune Up) Extended Version

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You:

Want a classic sounding jazz vocalist to sing to you while you cook dinner.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s a pretty elegant cover, but is it just me or does Mayfield totally look uncomfortable in this picture? Like he doesn’t wanna be there or something.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Nooope.

Final Thoughts:

Dee Dee Bridgewater is a classic jazz vocalist, and that’s a fault, because instead of showcasing her voice over sad or uncovered jazz gems she decides to use repetitive lyrics, do way too much scatting for anybody’s liking, and cover What A Wonderful World (seriously, we all know it, give us something that’s gone unappreciated for years instead of being so on the nose). Her band is great, her voice is terrific, her choices for tracks and order on an album is her major downfall.

Beirut-No No No (2015)

My Rating: 89% (A-)

Pitchfork Rating: 67%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: 64%

Average Rating: 73.3%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Gibraltar
  2. No No No
  3. At Once
  4. August Holland
  5. As Needed
  6. Perth
  7. Pacheco
  8. Fener
  9. So Allowed

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

On the hunt for a happy pop album with lots of horns.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

Not my favourite, not my least favourite. Cool colour, but kinda bland over all.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

That’s the dream.

Final Thoughts:

Beirut surprises me in their consistency, I’m still waiting for this band to make an album that I don’t like, but No No No is not one of them. They stick to their formula and it seems to work for them. Even having a song (Gibraltar) that seemed to surpass the fame of Elephant Gun on this album is an incredible feat in itself. Beirut has yet to get old to me, and I’m doubtful if even ten more albums of more of the same would even faze me because it’s just that damn good.

Julien Baker-Sprained Ankle (2015)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 70%

Rolling Stone Rating: N/A

Metacritic Rating: N/A

Average Rating: 85%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Blacktop
  2. Sprained Ankle
  3. Brittle Boned
  4. Everybody Does
  5. Good News
  6. Something
  7. Rejoice
  8. Vessels
  9. Go Home

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Contemplating life/driving during night/sad.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s wonderful. Really cool colours. Fits the music really well.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Hell yeah.

Final Thoughts:

Ho lee sheeeeeeeeeet. This album is absolutely incredible. Yet another great find through the youtube series “What’s In My Bag”.  I think the most impressive part of this album lies in its simplicity; it’s mostly just Julien and a piano. Her lyrics are absolutely incredible, and Go Home’s ending on the album with a muffled pastor preaching about Jesus over the melancholy piano, amazing.

Sufjan Stevens-Carrie & Lowell (2015)

My Rating: 100% (A++)

Pitchfork Rating: 93%

Rolling Stone Rating: 80%

Metacritic Rating: 90%

Average Rating: 90.8%

Tracklist (Standout songs underlined):

  1. Death With Dignity
  2. Should Have Known Better
  3. All of Me Wants All of You
  4. Drawn to the Blood
  5. Eugene
  6. Fourth of July
  7. The Only Thing
  8. Carrie & Lowell
  9. John My Beloved
  10. No Shade in The Shadow of the Cross
  11. Blue Bucket of Gold

Favourite Song on Album:

Listen to This Album When You’re:

Really sad, or about to fall asleep and won’t be super depressed by the gloominess of this album.

Thoughts on Album Cover:

It’s really eerie, just like the entire album, it’s a good fit and I’m a fan.

Want to Own on Vinyl?:

Oh yeah!

Final Thoughts:

This is Sufjan Stevens at his darkest and most vulnerable, I’ve never heard the artist talk about some of the subjects that he does on Carrie & Lowell it’s a beautiful, sad, incredible album that every music fans collection should include.

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